Face-to-face marketing: otherwise known as experiential, showrooming, field marketing or pop-up marketing, is becoming a popular addition to marketing strategies everywhere. Why? Because it drives better engagement more quickly than any other form of promotion.
The great news for marketers is that face-to-face promotions are becoming more accessible and cost effective than ever before – and there is no reason not to include them, even if you collect negative as well as positive feedback.
The core purpose of any face-to-face marketing campaign is to create an emotional connection, build rapport and forge trust with your target market. The most successful brands in the world understand that this is fundamental to success today. Ask yourself: why did Amazon, king of the digital market place decide to create stores in the physical world? What could offline experiences contribute to a brand already so successful online?
They’d already seen the stats, of course. Despite our increasing reliance on digital media, 82% of sales still happen in person. And that’s because, even with brands doing their best to emulate the best human customer service performance with chat-bots and other AI, there is still no substitute for in-person interaction.
How engaging your target audience face-to-face increases conversions
We all love our digital worlds, so it’s easy to think of online campaigns first when you’re strategising a new brand engagement campaign. But how effective is online engagement alone?
If someone likes a Facebook or Instagram post, does that represent a connection? Or are they hitting ‘like’ out of habit? Brand managers might think their digital follower figures are impressive but how can we gauge engagement depth and quality?
In person, we would never only give a thumbs up. We’d talk about it, smile or frown, lean in, back off, hand over our contact details or walk away. The problem with trying to connect digitally alone is that it’s still a very visual game and it takes more than one sense to create an emotional connection. Emotions are powerful things. People fall in love on first dates all the time.
As Maya Angelou said, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
To create an emotional connection means making someone feel something and that means sparking a sensory reaction that fires up certain chemicals in the brain.
The power of connecting emotionally with your target customers
Businesses have long known the power of creating a sensory in-store experience. Pumping the smell of freshly baked bread through supermarket aisles is an established ploy to stimulate hunger, for instance: because everyone knows we buy more food when we feel hungry. But smell is only one sense. What about the other four?
According to Martin Lindstrom, creating good engagement is all about creating a link with the five human senses. As he says in his famous book, Brand Sense: Build Powerful Brands through Touch, Taste, Smell, Sight, and Sound, “Brands that create an emotional connection to consumers are much stronger than those that don't- it's as simple (and complicated) as that.”
Simple because we use our senses every day without even thinking about it. Complicated, because of the chemical processes that have to happen to create an emotional response. Every emotional reaction we have is due to one or more neurotransmitters firing in our brains. Endorphins, dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin are responsible for us feeling good during exercise, anticipating reward, feeling happy and feeling love.
Emotions, as mysterious as they might feel, are actually a biological response to an outside stimulus. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you were born, how you were raised or how you were educated, if you’re human, these chemicals control how you feel. For marketers, they present enormous possibilities for engaging people in the most natural, human and influential way: in person.
Why face-to-face marketing supports all your other campaigns
Statistics show that 70% of users become regular customers after an experiential event, 80% say that live brand experiences assist with their purchasing decisions and 98% of users feel more inclined to purchase your brand after having physically experienced it. But what about the danger of a negative response?
Actually, there really is no such thing as a bad face-to-face response, even if it’s negative. Think about Marmite: love or hate it, we form an instant opinion from the very first taste. Marmite lovers will buy it immediately. Haters will never buy it and that’s ok too. At least you know not to waste time trying to sell to them.
That instant reaction could tell you more in a single moment about brand perception than a six-month digital campaign. But imagine how powerful you could make your digital campaigns with that in depth, quality of knowledge about your brand perception behind you.